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Crapo Urges President To Fund Idaho Scientific Research

Letter requests increased funding in 2005 budget

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senator Mike Crapo sent a letter to President Bush today requesting increased funding for a program designed to support scientific research and development in a number of U.S. states, including Idaho. The National Science Foundationâ??s (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), is designed to build research capacity and expand the number of competitive researchers in states that have historically received lesser amounts of Federal research and development funding, like Idaho. The program focuses on states that have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and improve the quality of science and engineering research conducted at their universities and colleges. The letter, also signed by 27 other Senators from EPSCoR states, requested $120 million for the program to be included in the Presidentâ??s 2005 budget. â??The EPSCoR program is the basic infrastructure-building program in a number of different states and the principal National Science Foundation support for many of our universities and researchers,â?? Crapo explained. â??The EPSCoR program is designed to build and strengthen the academic research infrastructure in states that normally do not receive a great deal of federal research and development funding. EPSCoR ensures the availability of equipment, facilities, and researchers at state universities like the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University. It is essential that our universities continue to receive this crucial funding.â?? The centerpiece of EPSCoR is the research infrastructure initiative (RII) award, which provides $3 million in grants each year to individual EPSCoR states. These funds are used to strengthen the academic infrastructure necessary to undertake research in emerging areas such as bio and information technology. The program also contains a co funding component that allows EPSCoR researchers to compete more effectively for other NSF research grants. For fiscal year 2004, the Senate has provided $100 million in EPSCoR funding, while the House of Representatives has allocated $90 million. A final number is pending, awaiting the conference committee report.